4 Beautiful Places To Visit In Ladakh’s Zanskar Valley
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Located 105 km from Leh and is popular with its adventure junkies, Zanskar Valley is one of the known Buddhist kingdoms of the western Himalayas with an elevation of 12000 feet. Zanskar Valley is the most isolated part of the Trans Himalaya region but it is famous for its high beautiful mountains and landscape which is one of the most unexplored places in Ladakh. The pleasant climate, landscape, snow-capped Himalayan Mountains, and sparking rivers make Zanskar Valley a perfect holiday destination for worldwide tourists. Do you know? Zanskar is a hotspot for trekking, paragliding, and water rafting. Some famous treks are Lamayuru to Darcha, Lamayuru – Padum trek. The Zanskar Valley is separated from the Suru Valley by the Penzila pass which serves as an excellent camping place, offering breathtaking views. Zanskar is accessible through Gogan. It also remains closed for eight months due to heavy snowfall.
Here are the 4 Beautiful Places To Visit In Zanskar Valley:
Located midway between Padum in the scenic Zanskar Valley and Kargil, Rangdum is one of the most beautiful places to visit during your trip to Ladakh. Being one of the most extreme and isolated, Rangdum is an oblique extended plateau encompassed by breathtaking hills on one side and encrusted rocky mountains on the other. This gorgeous valley in the pictorial valley of Ladakh is adorned by fascinating and colorful peaks on one side and stunning glaciers along with rugged mountains on the other side. The chief attraction of this place is a massive 18th-century monastery ‘Rangdum’ which houses as many as 40 monks. It is perched atop of a centrally rising mound and ensconced by a separated route of a mountain stream that creates an aura of age-old fortification protecting a mystical mountain. Secluded from the humdrum of city life, Rangdum is the ultimate place to wind up, relax, and get rejuvenated while having a tryst with the enchanting beauty of nature. In addition to this, visiting Rangdum will also get you the opportunity to witness and enjoy the contrasting sides of the Ladakh region. While one can enjoy the stimulating views of the rugged mountains where you can revel in the astounding views and charm of several vibrant mountains around the valley. So don’t miss it because along with the snow-clad peaks that depict the unique charm and aura of a Ladakh trip, there are the verdant meadows that will make your stay in Rangdum an extremely soothing affair!
Padum, named after Padmasambhava and known as the second Buddha is the only town in Zanskar and one of the two main capitals of the erstwhile Zanskar Kingdom. It is the most populated town of Zanskar that is inhabited by around 2000 people. The traditional heart of the village is below the gompa where two large chortens stand above old buildings. Padum is the base for many difficult treks such as Padum to Darcha via Shingo La, Padum to Lamayuru via Singge La, and Padum to Leh via Cha Cha La, Rubrang La, and the Markha Valley. Around Padum, you can visit the Starrimo Monastery, which houses about 30 monks, and Pibiting village, with its dominating hilltop monastery. Bardan, about 12 km from Padum on the trekking route to Darcha, has a 17th-century gompa, which is worth visiting. A favorite among photographers, the town of Padum is scenic and known for its Spartan splendor. The fields that acquire different hues with the change of season and the close view of the Drang-Drung glacier’s long and winding river of ice and snow create an almost magical image to be captured.
3. Stongdey Monastery
Often written Stongde, Stongday, Tonday, or Thonde, Stongdey Monastery is a flourishing Buddhist monastery in Zanskar, approximately 18 km north of Padum, on the road to Zangla. The gompa was founded in 1052 by Naropa’s disciple, the famous translator Lama Marpa Lotsawa. Stongdey Monastery is the second largest and the oldest monasteries in the Zanskar region whose beauty captivates the beholder with a sprawling whitewashed complex soaring above the Rocky Mountains. It displays several artistic works in the seven temples inside the monastery. Amongst the temples Tshogs-Khang is beautifully decorated with exquisite paintings of the deities, the paintings are made with a black background which is outlined with gold. This Monastery serves as the venue of the Gustor festival, an annual festival that takes place on the 28th and 29th day in the eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar. On the day of the festival, the monks perform the sacred dance in the monastery. I know, the climb up to the monastery is rather strenuous, but it is worth the trouble for the breathtaking scenery of the valley available from here.
4. Sani Monastery
Located next to the village of Sani where the Stod Valley broadens into the central plain of Zanskar, Sani Monastery which belongs to the Drukpa Kagupa order is believed to be the oldest Ka-ni-ka monastery in Zanskar. This monastery is said to have been built in parts, each dating to a different century. The Chorten is believed to have been erected in the 2nd century, while the dukhang in the 17th century. This monastery is built like a castle on flat ground, making it more accessible than most others. There is a stupa in the backyard of its walled complex. There is a red wooden phallus above the door suggesting it is associated with fertility. The prayer room is impressive, with plenty of Buddhist statues and tangkas. The walls are adorned with stucco murals (wall paintings), based on the life of Padmasambhava. There is also a large sculpted image of Maitreya Buddha on a rock near the gompa. Do you know? Sani monastery is also known as Turtot Gyat and it is considered to be one of the eight holy places of the Buddhist which I’m sure you won’t like to miss on your trip to Zanskar.